Fianna Fáil Scumbags Claim Moral High Ground
The leader of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin, in a speech commemorating the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin attacked the Provisional movements historical role in trying to break British imperialism’s stranglehold on Ireland by claiming they had “sullied” Republicanism.
The Irish Times reported:
Mr Martin asserted that if people wanted to know where the men and women of 1916 would have stood in later years, they would find out by looking at what they did: taking the route of constitutional republicanism.
The speech, and its focus on Sinn Féin, was received as an effort by Fianna Fáil to assert its republican credentials against a party which has posed an increased electoral threat in the south.
Now, I’m no fan (of the current state) of the Provisionals and of their leadership whom I consider to be in bed with the British administered statelet of Northern Ireland (more on that later) but for Fianna Fail to attack the Provisionals in their historical role up upholding revolutionary Republicanism is both morally and intellectually bankrupt and utterly laughable.
Fianna Fail, using the guise of “Constitutional Republicanism,” completely capitulated to the interests of the Irish and British capitalist class by turning their backs on the 1916 Easter Proclamation and of the 1919 Dail Eireann. Many of those who had joined Fianna Fail were from the privileged class and had been part of IRA units and councils during the War for Independence that routinely would take the sides of land lords and local businessmen against the starving masses of the Irish people.
This was also the party that had outlawed the true army of the people for Ireland (and for Republicanism), the IRA, which was seeking to revolutionize (in certain ways) an Irish society that was experiencing British occupation in the north and colonization in the guise of the Free State. This was the same group of traitors that allowed the British to withdraw from the south of Ireland in order to occupy the north and terrorize the Irish there. This was also the same party that took up reactionary and conservative economic policies that harmed the poor, the working class, and the small farmers and also routinely bowed down to the will of the reactionary Catholic hierarchy This was also the party that interned dozens upon dozens of IRA members in the 1940s in deplorable internment camps and prisons and let a number of them die on hunger strike.
Indeed, it was not Thatcher that first let the blood of Irish hunger strikers in a divided Ireland drip from her hands but fellow Irish of the Irish Free State.
I would argue that the Provisionals helped reinvigorate Republicanism by asserting the right of an occupied, broken, and oppressed people to stand up for themselves and to fight back against the British who had used the north as their cheap source of industrial labor and had created a neo-colony in the south in order to keep a capitalist stranglehold on the Irish people.
Of course, the Provisionals completely abandoned Republicanism by suspending a just war against the British and by allowing themselves to recognize the Irish Free State as legitimate and by also enmeshing themselves in the British administered government in Stormont through the Good Friday agreement.
The capitulation of the Provisionals to the Irish State (even claiming the army of the Republic as the “true” army of Republicanism instead of the IRA) and to the right of Britain to occupy the north is essentially no different from what Fianna Fail did 90+ years ago. In fact, this is something reporter Harry McGee noted in the Irish Times:
[Provisional Sinn Fein] is on a long-term upward trajectory. It’s not even, or all that quick – as the Meath East byelection and the flatline election of 2007 remind us. Will the aspiration of a united Ireland fade as it did for Fianna Fáil? Will the party’s self-styled brand of pragmatic realistic left-wing republicanism be enough to allow it capture the citadel in the South as it did in the North? Its main problem is that Fianna Fáil is still there, and it did all that 87 years ago. [bold mine]
Essentially, Martin’s attack on revolutionary Republicanism (against a now currently revisionist and reformist Sinn Fein) is mute as the Provisionals are slowly moving towards Martin’s views and visions. Really, the real reason for the attack is as reporter Harry McGee noted, ” an effort by Fianna Fáil to assert its republican credentials against a party which has posed an increased electoral threat in the south.”